I want to preface this by saying I could be full of shit. I know a fair amount about how Congress works both in theory and in practice, but what follows is just educated speculation.
A gay activist group is holding a protest tonight in Speaker Pelosi’s district, claiming she’s not being aggressive enough in putting the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on the House’s legislative calendar. Congress has a few short weeks left in session, and if political prognosticators are correct, Democrats may lose control of one or both chambers.
So it’s urgent that ENDA should be called to a vote in the House, right? Wrong. In reality, Congress doesn’t work the way we were taught in Civics. It’s much more delicate, and much more the product of the whims of individual members and the challenges they each face. The House and Senate can pass either DADT or ENDA, but it’s nearly impossible to pass both, so it’s time for gay rights activists to pick their pleasure.